June 2003 - District Superior's Letter
Fr. Denis Roch has died. Bishop Fellay confirms that rumors that the Society has reached an agreement are false. Changes in the canadian district.
At the beginning of the summer season I want to give you some news regarding our Society.
Death of Fr. Denis Roch
April 1, 2004; Father Denis Roch, one the first priests of our Society died in France after a long battle with cancer. Born in Switzerland in 1942, a convert from Calvinism, ordained in 1976, Father Roch was the first Bursar General of the Society and first District Superior for Switzerland. Please pray a Rosary and offer a Holy Communion for the repose of his soul. Requiescat in pace!
Rumors about an agreement proven false
You have no doubt heard about the article, which appeared in different European and American newspapers saying that the SSPX was about to reach an agreement with Rome and that three of the four bishops were to be reconciled. I guess when there is no news to report they have to make it up. Here is the communiqué issued by Bishop Fellay on April 22:
The “Il Messagero” has spread the news of a supposed reconciliation of three bishops of the Society of St Pius X with Rome. This was to be announced during the celebration of a Tridentine Mass celebrated by H. E. Cardinal Hoyos on May 24th, in the Basilica of St Mary Majors in Rome.
H. L. Bishop Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, is not aware of any such story and assures all that the four bishops, not only three, are united in their unchanged position for the defence of Catholic Tradition in the line of H. G. Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
Tridentine Mass celebrated by Cardinal Hoyos
An event, which made some noise in indult circles, was that for possibly the first time since 1970 the Tridentine Mass was publicly celebrated by a Cardinal in a major Roman basilica. On May 24, feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, His Eminence Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy and president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei, celebrated a Pontifical Tridentine High Mass in St. Mary Major. According to the above mentioned newspaper article, this is when the supposed reconciliation and lifting of the supposed excommunication was to be announced. Of course, it never came. The Mass was offered, we were told, in thanksgiving for the apostolic letter ‘Ecclesia Dei’ of July 2, 1988 which set up the Society of St. Peter and claimed Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop de Castro Mayer and the four bishops consecrated by them were excommunicated. Of course we cannot take part in such a ceremony and rejoice in these motives. We can, however, say that in itself it is a good thing that the true Mass is finally publicly allowed in the Roman basilicas. The Cardinal in his sermon made one interesting admission: "The old Roman rite preserves its right of citizenship in the Church and cannot be considered extinguished." To my knowledge this is the first time such an admission has been made publicly. Until now the official party line, promoted by Mgr Perl, Secretary of Ecclesia Dei, has always been that the new mass abrogated the old Mass and that the new mass is the only Mass of the Church. It is obvious though that the Cardinal still does not understand the difference between the two Masses when he says that what “unites the variety of rites is the same faith in the Eucharistic mystery."
Bishop Fellay visits Canada
May 19, we received a visit from Bishop Fellay in Toronto. In his sermon he gave us some news regarding Rome and the Society. The word that best describes the present state in Rome is: confusion. Bishop Fellay had some funny anecdotes which show the confusion reigning in Rome. For example, an old Catholic bishop who last year wanted to convert to Catholicism was told by Cardinal Neves, Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops: "Your Excellency, it is not necessary to convert. Since the Council, things have changed! There's no need to convert anymore." The schismatic bishop then asked Cardinal Neves, "What would you think if I joined the SSPX?" And he replied, "Good heavens, don't do that! They're fossils!" Bishop Walter Kasper (now Cardinal) then got involved and told the schismatic bishop to go to Utrecht. [A Modernist segment of the Orthodox] "With all our ecumenical contacts, I have good contacts with them. I think you should join them!" A second time this bishop asked Rome to be received into the Church and Cardinal Kasper bluntly told him “No!” Now, recently, the same bishop, who still wants to convert, but to Tradition, was apparently told by one of Cardinal Castrillon’s secretary “Go see Bishop Fellay. He is still in the Church, he will receive you.” They know we are Catholic, not schismatic or excommunicated. But they also know we will not go along with their new theology and ecumenism and so some still hold the party line of schism, excommunication etc. You can obtain a copy of this very informative and interesting conference for a $5.00 donation to help cover costs.
Changes in the canadian district
Finally news, which is actually of great importance to our district, is the departure of Father Yves le Roux from Holy Family School. After 7 years in Québec, Father le Roux will be heading for the greener pastures of the American Mid-West as the new rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary replacing Bishop Williamson who will be taking over the direction of the SSPX seminary in La Reja, Argentina. We thank Father for the magnificent work done during his tenure as director. He brought a greater stability to the work of education in addition to being a good administrator. His talents will be missed in Canada but very useful as rector of one of the Society’s main seminaries. Our prayers accompany him in his new and very important duties of forming priests. Needless to say it is one of the most important works in the Church since it affect the salvation of countless souls. Father Jean de L’Estourbeillon, who until now had been his assistant, will replace him as director of Holy Family School. We assure him also of our prayers and wish him well in his new duties.
Please remember St. Joseph Bursary in your generosity. Each year this fund helps needy and deserving children attend a truly Catholic school where they not only fill their minds with natural and supernatural truths but also learn to love God and His Church. They are also taught discipline and respect for others so as to be true and profitable members of the Church and society. As you know, many children come from large families and so the parents struggle to provide their children with a truly Catholic education. Children should not be denied a Catholic education for lack of money and yet the schools have many bills to pay. The way to help both families and schools is St Joseph’s Bursary. This year the amount for distribution is much lower than in past years. Yet the need is ever greater. So we turn to the generosity of our benefactors to support this most worthy cause. Know that you will be doing a true act of charity, most pleasing to God by helping His little ones to better know, love and serve Him. He will reward you more than a hundredfold.
Thank you for your continued fidelity and support. The monthly Mass for all our friends and benefactors is always offered on the last Sunday of the month.
With my blessing,
Father Jean Violette